What you need to know:
- On May 15, the House passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) with a vote of 208-199. The bill now moves to the Senate. Urge the Senate and the Administration to enact a COVID-19 recovery package that continues to provide nutrition and other needed assistance to struggling individuals and families.
- On May 12, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats introduced the fourth COVID-19 response package, H.R. 6800 – HEROES Act. Check out FRAC’s statement, FRAC’s analysis, the bill text, and the section-by-section summary from the House.
- Read about FRAC’s ongoing leadership to ensure the nutritional needs of millions are met.
Check this page for updates on efforts to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on the health, well-being, and food security of low-income people.
FRAC encourages advocates to urge state agencies to apply for child nutrition waivers as needed, and to contact your Members of Congress with specific and broad requests for inclusion in any stimulus package.
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New Tools You Can Use
COVID-19 Child Nutrition Guidance and Meal Sites by StateThis map includes links to each state agency’s website that provides details on how to serve meals during school closures. Other resources include links or maps to meals sites, depending on availability.
Summary of USDA's Nationwide Nutrition Waivers in Response to COVID-19The Families First Coronavirus Response Act gives the USDA the authority to issue nationwide waivers to ensure access to meals through the child nutrition programs as communities respond to COVID-19.
Maximizing WIC’s Role in Supporting Health, Food Security, and Safety During the COVID-19 PandemicActions that WIC, advocates, partner organizations, and state and local policymakers can take to help preserve access to WIC during this pandemic.
Summary of USDA's Nationwide Child Nutrition Waivers in Response to COVID-19Q&As from the USDA on the logistics of delivering meals through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) while using existing authority.
Summary of School Districts and Program Providers’ Efforts to Serve Meals During School ClosingsAn spreadsheet compiled by FRAC of school districts serving meals and broken down by state, district, and model.
Federal Nutrition Programs: Response to COVID-19
- Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)FRAC Resources
Pandemic EBT: A Critical Opportunity for States
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program is a critical opportunity for states to provide nutritional resources to families who are losing access to free or reduced-price schools in response to COVID-19 school closures. This resource provides information on the program and highlights things states should consider when creating a plan.
USDA Guidance on Pandemic EBT
Utilizing Pandemic-EBT in Response to COVID-19
- Meals During School ClosingsFRAC Resources
Guide to Ensuring Children Have Access to Nutritious Meals During COVID-19 School Closures
FRAC’s assistance for partners utilizing the child nutrition programs and Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) to ensure students have access to the nutrition they need during COVID-19 school closures. This guide highlights options available to school districts and community partners to serve meals, answer commonly asked questions, and share best practices.
Summary of USDA’s Nationwide Child Nutrition Waivers in Response to COVID-19
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act gives the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to issue nationwide waivers to ensure access to meals through the child nutrition programs as communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to issue waivers to increase cost.
COVID-19 Child Nutrition Guidance and Meal Sites by State
This interactive map includes links to each state agency’s website containing suggestions on how to serve meals during school closures. In addition, you will find a link to a list or map of meal sites available in the state (if available).
Summary of School Districts and Program Providers’ Efforts to Serve Meals During School Closings
A spreadsheet compiled by FRAC of school districts serving meals and broken down by state, district, and model.
Possibilities Through Partnership During COVID-19
Serving Students School Meals During COVID-19 Webinar (from 3/18/20)
Listen to this recording of SNA, USDA, and FRAC’s webinar discussing guidelines for serving school meals when schools are closed or dismissed. School nutrition operators will also provide practical ideas for how to provide meals to students in partnership with their communities, state agencies, and other partners.
On April 30, bipartisan letter from Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Don Young (R-AK), and 53 of their house colleagues urging USDA to continue to issue nationwide waivers, issue a nationwide area eligibility waiver, and extend the child nutrition waivers past June 30.
- Feeding Older AmericansHelping Older Adults Struggling Against Hunger Access Food in the Age of COVID-19
This brief explores four available actions to minimize exposure to COVID-19 through person-to-person contact when it comes to older adults accessing food.
Older Adults Benefit From Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic
FRAC’s one page summary related to food assistance and the Federal Nutrition Programs as they are effected by COVID-19.
Older Adult (age 60+) Nutrition Programs Referral Chart During COVID-19
A chart from FRAC breaking down U.S. Department of Agriculture — Food and Nutrition Service and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — Administration for Community Living resources for Older Adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Survey Data: Demand on Meals on Wheels National Network Swells and Wait Lists Grow Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
This new survey conducted by Meals on Wheels America found that nearly all local Meals on Wheels programs are experiencing increased demand as a result of COVID-19, with four in five programs reporting that new meal requests have doubled since March 1, 2020.
Senior Nutrition Program: Nutrition Services Frequently Asked Emergency Management Questions
Answer frequently asked questions relating to the Senior Nutrition Program and COVID-19 from the Administration for Community Living.
- CACFPPowerpoint: National Head Start Association presentation from FRAC on Child and Adult Care Food Program
CACFP Update: Families First Act
FRAC’s advocacy initiative to facilitate the success of CACFP in continuing to support child care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Child and Adult Care Food Program: USDA Waivers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued the first set of nationwide child nutrition program waivers based on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The three nationwide waivers will support Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) providers and programs in maintaining access to nutritious meals for children in the current COVID-19 public health emergency.
- SNAPFRAC Resources
Pandemic EBT FAQ
Learn more about Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer eligibility and states’ implementation of this program.
Why the Administration and Congress Need to Build on SNAP Down Payments Now
FRAC Chat blog clarifying the USDA’s emergency benefit announcement and FRAC’s congressional ask for the SNAP 15 percent boost to maximum allotments.
Guidance from FRAC that summarizes and offers considerations for implementing Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). The Families First Coronavirus Response Act creates the P-EBT program, an important opportunity to provide nutritional resources to families who are losing access to free or reduced-price school meals as school across the country close in response to COVID-19.
An Advocate’s Guide to the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)
Learn how D-SNAP works and what advocates, elected officials, and service providers can do to reduce hunger and food insecurity before, during, and after a disaster.
SNAP Emergency Allotments to Current SNAP Households
The USDA grants states waivers to issue SNAP emergency allotments bringing households’ benefit amounts up to the maximum benefit for their household size.
SNAP COVID-19 Emergency Allotments Guidance
Guidance from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regarding SNAP state agencies on implementing emergency SNAP allotments pursuant to H.R. 6201
SNAP Guidance on Time Limits for Recipients Currently Enrolled
Guidance from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regarding SNAP state agencies on current status of SNAP time limits pursuant to H.R. 6201
SNAP Pandemic Planning Guidelines
Learn how State agencies can work within their agency and with State-level pandemic planning authorities to update their pandemic plans.
Online Purchasing Pilot approved states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, IA, ID, KY, MN, MO, NM, NC, NE, NV, NY, OR, RI, TX, VT, WA, WI
The online purchasing pilot initially began in AL, FL, IA, NE, NY, OR, WA. Arizona and California were approved April 8. Florida and Idaho were approved April 11. District of Columbia., and North Carolina were approved April 17. Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas were approved April 21. Vermont was approved April 24. Minnesota was approved May 1. Nevada was approved May 4. Colorado was approved May 6. New Mexico was approved May 7. Rhode Island was approved May 8. Wisconsin was approved May 11.
The Food Marketing Institute Blog Post: It’s A “SNAP” To Order Online and Pay At Store
Food Marketing Institute blog regarding “click, collect and pay” options for grocery access for SNAP shoppers.
Letters From FRAC and Partners
Utilizing Restaurants to Get Food to SNAP Participants
A letter to USDA Secretary Perdue asking him to promote the Restaurant Meals Program so people are aware they can use their TANF and SNAP EBT funds through this program. The letter is signed by FRAC, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Restaurant Associate, and the Western Center on Law & Poverty.
A letter to Congress from the AARP asking to strengthen Federal Nutrition Programs among other programs in response to COVID-19.
Letters from Federal and State Policymakers
May 6 letter from Maryland delegation in support of SNAP in the next COVID-19 relief package.
May 5 letter from Wisconsin Senator Baldwin, Congresswoman Moore, Congressman Kind, and Congressman Pocan in support of SNAP in the next COVID-19 relief package.
April 29 letter from 22 Senators led by Democratic Senators Merkely (OR) and Murphy (CT) urging Senate leaders to boost SNAP benefits.
April 28 letter from Congressman Panetta, Senator Murphy announce legislation to expand access to Restaurant Meals Program amid COVID-19.
April 27 letter from Senators Murphy (D-CT), Hirono (D-HI), Harris (D-CA) and Warren (D-MA) urging USDA to allow college students unemployed due to COVID-19 access to SNAP.
April 21 letter from bipartisan National Governors Association calling for 15 percent increase to maximum SNAP benefit and other relief.
April 16, a letter from two Senators and nine Representatives from New Jersey asking Congressional leaders to bolster SNAP benefits as a legislative priority.
April 16 letter from Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) and Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) wrote their own on how increasing SNAP benefits will help their state.
April 13, joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer that included boosting SNAP as an urgent priority in an interim emergency coronavirus relief package. This follows their joint statement on April 8, which listed a “15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit to help put food on the table” among the top priorities.
April 9 Congressional Progressive Caucus wrote a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi detailing their priorities for the fourth Congressional relief package, including strengthening SNAP.
April 6 House letter led Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and signed by 136 of their colleagues urging House and Senate leaders to prioritize anti-hunger efforts and strengthen SNAP in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package.
- WICCOVID 19_WIC Waiver Flexibilities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a State WIC agency template to allow agencies to request the multiple WIC flexibilities granted under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Maximizing WIC’s Role in Supporting Health, Food Security, and Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Actions that WIC, advocates, partner organizations, and state and local policymakers can take to help preserve access to WIC during this pandemic.
Making WIC Work Better: Strategies to Reach More Women and Children and Strengthen Benefits Uses
FRAC supports the use of the full range of disaster options recommended in this report. These include maximizing options for WIC food package and redemption flexibilities, benefit replacement, and simplified income eligibility as necessary; continuing WIC services; and encouraging partners to disseminate WIC’s help to impacted communities.
- Legislative UpdatesMajor COVID-19 Relief Bills
Relief package 3.5, sent to the President for signature on April 23, 2020: H.R.266 – Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Provides additional funding for small business loans, health care providers, and COVID-19 testing.
Resources: Overview of small business provisions from House Committee on Small Business Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez, factsheet on appropriations provisions from Democratic staff of the House Appropriations Committee.
Relief Package 3, signed into law March 27, 2020: P.L. 116-136 – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Focused on Providing Economic Stabilization, Substantial Help to First Responders, and Critical Assistance to Individuals, Families, and Businesses.
Resources: FRAC statement, summary from Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), summary from Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
Relief Package 2, signed into law March 18, 2020: P.L. 116-127 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Focused on Providing Free Testing, Strengthening Food Security, Increasing Health Access via Medicaid, Enhancing Unemployment Insurance, and Establishing New Emergency Paid Sick and Paid Family Leave for Workers.
Resources: FRAC statement, FRAC analysis, summary from House Appropriations Committee.
Relief Package 1, signed into law March 6, 2020: P.L. 116-123 – Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Focused on Strengthening the Public Health Response via Vaccine Development and Support to Public Health Providers, Increasing State Resources to Address the Crisis, and Aiding Small Businesses.
- Food SecurityPowerpoint: Feeding America on The Impact of the Coronavirus on Local Food Insecurity
Food Insecurity Triples for Families with Children During COVID-19 Pandemic, from the Northwestern Institute of Policy Research, Posted May 13
The COVID-19 Crisis Has Already Left Too Many Children Hungry in America, blog from the Hamilton Project/Brookings Institution, Posted May 6
A Report on the Economic Anxiety Index from Marketplace, posted May 5
Statistics on U.S. Food Insecurity During COVID-19 from the Community and Family Institute at the University of Arkansas.
USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Purchase Program
The USDA launched a new Farmers to Families Food Box Purchase Program to purchase agricultural products and distribute to those in need. More information can be found in the USDA’s webinar and FAQ on this topic.
More Than One in Five US Adults Experienced Food Insecurity in the Early Weeks of the Pandemic
New data from a nationally representative survey of non-elderly adults conducted between March 25 and April 10 show the COVID-19 pandemic has already taken a significant toll on families’ abilities to meet basic needs, especially their ability to afford an adequate diet.
Food Security is Economic Security is Economic Stimulus
The Hamilton Project examines policies tailored to coronavirus that support food security, particularly for households with children.